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Latin American Studies

Conservatism and striving for changes can be seen going hand in hand in most societies in the world. The manifestation of such phenomenon might differ, but it can be identified in most developing and developed societies. Liberal and conservatives, right and left, and others, are simple examples of such polar forces in societies. Being the subject of this course, it can be stated that such an aspect was specifically outlined in Latin America, in which persistence of traditions and strive for change coexisted together. Outlining the benefits of such coexistence, the present paper will attempt to compare church and peasant villagers in Latin American as a target of such contradictory forces, stating that both groups benefitted from the influence of such forces, and in turn benefitted the society.

The influence of tradition persistence and revolutionary change can be seen in an economical context. In assessing the influence of traditions and revolutionary changes, it can be stated that the outlined groups represented these contradictory movements. In that regard, it can be stated that each movement was used as a force to balance the other. The resistance to change was traced to settlers, where the Church was used to maintain a powerful deterrent against internal rebellion. The revolutionary changes brought mostly by conflicts led to many changes among which was the separation of Church and state. Such changes brought a constructive phase that coincided with the onset of economic growth. The resistance to change, which was aided by the hierarchy of the church, focused on restoring the old order. These conflicting patterns can be seen influencing Church in an economical context through limiting its actions, separation from the government, and nationalization of its property, all of which were reflected positively on the development of Latin America.

The movements brought by peasants were influential in bringing revolutionary changes the impacted the Church. At the same time, peasants themselves were influenced by such a contrast of tradition and changes. The persistence of traditions can be seen rooted within the origin of peasants in Latin America, who like the rest of the population were Catholic, and thus, part of the traditionalism was based on the traditional values brought by the Church. At the same time, the changes, mainly brought by modernization, led to certain changes in value orientations, where peasants took the role of active actors within a political process. In that regard, striving for change brought ideas of modernization, while the persistence for tradition made peasants see Christianity as the basis for justice sought in the society. Such feel for justice led to the peasant movement. Both polar influences led to that a balance was created, through conflicts between those contradicting movements.

The present paper analyzed the influence of contradictory coexistence of revolutionary changes and persistence of traditions on two groups, the Church and Peasant. It can be concluded that not only does such contradictory coexistence balance each other, but it also benefitted society and contributed to the development in Latin America. The economic context taken as the basis for analysis showed that “Latin America achieved growth through the created balance between different interest groups, among which were the Church and the peasants. Being in a constant conflict of opposing forces, tradition and modernization, conservatism and liberalism, elite interests, and workers and peasants, Latin America developed slowly but steadily.